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Binky International Film Festival: Day Seven

Hello and welcome to Day Seven of the first ever “Binky International Film Festival“! I hope you’ve been enjoying this series so far, and if you’re not… Well, tough. It’s my blog. 😉 Just kidding. I really do hope you’ve been enjoying this series and are willing to continue our journey until we finish with Day 10 on New Year’s Eve.

Today, we are going to take a look at my personal favorites of 2011, the movies that I love so much I can watch over and over again, thus making this a “Repeat Viewing” genre. I can now safely say that 2011 is quite a good year for movies. Sure, there are a lot of crap this year but then again, there are always a lot of crap movies every year. But the good ones are not that few and far between this year, definitely an improvement from 2010. And if the Mayan Apocalypse doesn’t end us all, let’s hope this time next year we have an even better list of movies to discuss. 🙂 Now, let’s get right down to business and begin Day Seven!

“Repeat Viewing”

Drive

Release Date: September 16, 2011
Approx. Running Time: 100 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): Nicolas Winding Refn & Hossein Amini
Stars: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Albert Brooks, Bryan Cranston
Defining Song: A Real Hero Feat. Electric Youth by College

Without a doubt, in my opinion, Best Movie of 2011. I didn’t know what to expect going in, I only knew that people were all talking about it and giving it high praise on Twitter. I came for Ryan Gosling, and I got so, so much more. It’s a little hard to talk about this movie without sounding like a crazed fangirl, so bear with me. Drive is amazeballs because 1. Ryan Gosling and his silent acting equals pure brilliance. 2. Albert Brooks in the role of a villain: mind-blowing. 3. The insane violence: puts Tarantino to shame. 4. The music: oh the music! It really sets the mood. Gosling himself described this movie as a “Pretty In Pink with a head smashing” and I don’t know how else to describe it that would do it justice. It’s definitely not to everyone’s taste but if you like indie, offbeat, strange movies (with head smashing) – you will probably LOVE this as much as I do.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Friends With Kids

Release Date: September 9, 2011 (Toronto International Film Festival)
Approx. Running Time: 100 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): Jennifer Westfeldt
Stars: Adam Scott, Jennifer Westfeldt, Maya Rudolph, Kristen Wiig, Jon Hamm, Ed Burns, etc

This movie was highly recommended by NY Magazine’s Vulture blog post-Toronto International Film Festival, and because it has not only half the cast of Bridesmaids but also Adam Scott and Ed Burns, I waited with bated breath until I could finally see it, and I definitely wasn’t disappointed. Jennifer Westfeldt (some of you may know her as Jon Hamm’s lady love) wrote and directed a charming little movie about friendship, love, parenthood and marriage in very real, non-preachy, non-judgmental way. Five minutes in, you see these characters and you will think, “Oh that reminds me of my own group of friends” (only they’re much, much better looking). The issues discussed were very much what friends in their thirties would discuss: love, marriage, kids – but it’s not desperate or stupid, which is what most romcoms tend to be. Whether you’re single, or married, or divorced, I think you’d be able to enjoy this movie very much. Trust me. I know these things. 🙂 (PS: Couldn’t find the trailer for this movie on Youtube, so I tried embedding it from a different site. Hope it works. If not… well, I tried)

http://www.traileraddict.com/emd/45908

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Hanna

Release Date: April 11, 2011
Approx. Running Time: 111 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): Joe Wright & Seth Lochhead, David Farr. Story by Seth Lochhead
Stars: Saoirse Ronan, Cate Blanchett, Eric Bana

Okay by now I do have to admit that I have this fascination with violent movies. My favorite movie of 2011 is Drive and months before I saw Drive, I was raving about how awesome Hanna is, a movie that tells the story of a teenage girl trained by her ex-CIA father to become an effective assassin. Hanna is violent, but it’s also empowering and strangely enough, sweet. The relationship between Hanna and her father is beautiful, how the two would do anything to protect each other. And the way Hanna longs for companionship, and her loyalty to her new friends – there’s a lot of sweetness there to offset the violence. Parents may not be too crazy about the idea of a teen girl fighting for survival and killing without hesitation, but between the infectious score by The Chemical Brothers and the brilliant fight sequences, I’m totally hooked and I’m screaming for more.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

It’s Kind of A Funny Story

Release Date: October 8, 2010
Approx. Running Time: 101 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck
Stars: Keir Gilchrist, Zach Galifianakis, Emma Roberts, Viola Davis, Lauren Graham, etc
Defining Song: Blood by The Middle East

Okay I know this movie is not a 2011 release but I decided to put it in this list for the following reasons: 1. I only discovered this movie in 2011 and 2. I love it so much, I have to include it here. At first I thought it was going to be just another depressing coming-of-age movie but as it turns out it’s nothing like I expected. It’s funny. It’s eye-opening. It’s uplifting. It deals with depression in a real way but at the same time doesn’t end it on a nihilistic “there’s no point to all this let’s just wait for a planet to collide with earth and get it over and done with” note (I’m looking at you, Lars Von Trier). Is it a little too positive? Perhaps. But maybe not. Depression is real. As someone with Bipolar Disorder, I’ve experienced it many, many times. But I believe there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You can always get help. Happiness is not deprived of you. Life is still worth living after all, and that’s what this movie is about. For that alone, it deserves to be watched over and over again, especially for those who are still battling depression and in need of some perspective.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

HappyThankYouMorePlease

Release Date: March 4, 2011
Approx. Running Time: 100 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): Josh Radnor
Stars: Josh Radnor, Malin Akerman, Kate Mara, Zoe Kazan

I have to admit, out of the five main characters in How I Met Your Mother, Ted is my least favorite. He is exactly the type of guy I would avoid being friends with, so when my fantasy gay husband Neil Patrick Harris tweeted about this movie that his co-star and friend Josh Radnor wrote, directed and starred in, I was a little skeptical. But then I saw the movie and realized, Radnor is no Ted. Sure, the character he plays in this movie bears some resemblance to Ted, but only if Ted were a depressed, failed writer trying to find meaning in life by (unwisely) taking in a little boy he found abandoned in a subway. It took a while for the movie to win me over but it did. At the end, I can really relate to characters who are just trying to find themselves and each other in a chaotic world, maybe because that’s how I feel most of the time. And I like the way the movie ends in an upbeat, happier tone – what can I say, at the end of a movie I want to be able to say, “I’m happy. Thank you. More please!”

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

And that concludes Day Seven of Binky International Film Festival. We still have three more days to go, so come back tomorrow for Day Eight where we’ll be taking a look at some of the year’s most entertaining comedies in the “Laugh It Up” genre, because life is hard enough without a little laugh every now and then, right? I’ll see you back here tomorow… hopefully same time, but always same place. 🙂 Until then!

xoxo

Binky Bee

Golden Globes Nominations: Stars In Their Eyes

The Golden Globes nominations are in, and it’s a doozy, you guys. On one hand, there are some categories that are so great, I can’t even choose my favorite. On the other, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association continues to be crazy by snubbing the greats such as Breaking Bad, Parks and Recreation and Melissa McCarthy and continuing to nominate Glee (do they even watch this season, or are they stuck in season 1?) and nominating Ryan Gosling twice but neither for Drive. Not to mention, they’re continuing the tradition of what NY Magazine’s Vulture blog calls “Random Piper Perabo Nomination”, in which a random actress starring in a new USA Network show somehow gets a Best Actress Drama nod. This year the honor goes to Callie Thorne. I’m guessing Gabrielle Anwar’s agent forgot to get on that?

But despite the doozy-ness of this year’s nominations, the HFPA does assure us of two things: it’ll be an interesting red carpet what with the hottest stars in Hollywood all getting nominated (Clooney, Gosling, Pitt, Jolie, Theron, DiCaprio…) and we’ll have an even more interesting ceremony what with Ricky Gervais hosting (again!) and ready to insult and offend those glittering A-listers. So in a way, I can’t hate on them for their glaring snubs. Good job, HFPA!

Alright. Now let’s get straight to the nominees. This year, I’ll only be picking My Favorites (see the SAG Nominations post below) instead of the usual “Who I Think Will Win” and “Who I Want To Win” because the old format is just too much work. 🙂 Besides, my predictions tend to be wrong anyway. I’d make the worst psychic in the world.

Well let’s not waste any more time and dive in!

MOTION PICTURE

Best Picture, Comedy/Musical:

The Artist
Bridesmaids
Midnight in Paris

My Week with Marilyn
50/50

My Favorite: Now this is one of those categories that I mentioned above, that almost all the nominees are so great and so well deserving of the nods that I can’t choose a favorite! I haven’t seen The Artist and My Week With Marilyn (that’s a “Comedy”?) but Bridesmaids, Midnight In Paris and 50/50 were all so amazing in different ways and choosing between them is like choosing which one of my imaginary children is my favorite. It’s impossible! So I’m not going to choose, and instead just hope that The Artist isn’t going to beat them all (though it probably will).

Winner: The Artist

Best Picture, Drama:

The Help
The Descendants
Hugo
The Ides of March
Moneyball
Warhorse

My Favorite: Okay, this is hard because out of all the movies nominated, I’ve only seen The Help and The Ides of March. So I can’t really make an objective assessment. And I know a lot of people hate The Ides of March, but I actually like it. Maybe it’s the Clooney/Gosling of it all, or maybe it’s because of my lack of understanding of politics in general, but I enjoyed that movie very much. Since I’m not sure which to choose, I decided to go with the movie I haven’t seen but critics raved about and written by the Dean of my favorite fictional Community college Dean Pelton Jim Rash, The Descendants. And if it wins, Clooney will get up on stage too, so win-win, right?

Winner: The Descendants

Best Actress, Comedy:

Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn
Charlize Theron, Young Adult
Kristen Wiig, Bridesmaids
Kate Winslet, Carnage
Jodie Foster, Carnage

My Favorite: This category is the worst for me because I’ve only seen Bridesmaids and thus can only choose Kristen Wiig because I don’t know how good everyone else was in their respective movies. I have a feeling that it’ll go to Charlize Theron though, she’s always been a go-to choice for HFPA.

Winner: Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn

Best Actor, Comedy

Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Owen Wilson, Midnight in Paris
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, 50/50
Brendan Gleeson, The Guard
Ryan Gosling, Crazy, Stupid, Love

My Favorite: The HFPA is so cruel for making me choose between Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Ryan Gosling. They’re my imaginary boyfriends, I love them equally! However, despite enjoying Gosling’s performance in Crazy, Stupid, Love (and that glorious, glorious abs), I was crying and laughing the whole time during 50/50, and it’s all because of Joseph Gordon Levitt’s heartbreaking performance, so I’m sorry, Gosling, but I’m going to give it to Gordon-Levitt. Hey, it rhymes! (Also, Jean Dujardin will probably best them both)

Winner: Jean Dujardin, The Artist

Best Actress, Drama:

Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs
Viola Davis, The Help
Rooney Mara, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Tilda Swinton, We Need to Talk About Kevin

My Favorite: Well, this is easy. I’ve chosen  Viola Davis as my favorite to win the SAG Awards, so I guess now I’m going to choose Tilda Swinton. Though seeing that both are up against Merryl Streep, I’m guessing it wouldn’t matter. That woman almost never loses, the HFPA LOVES them some Streep!

Winner: Merryl Streep, The Iron Lady

Best Actor, Drama:

George Clooney, The Descendants
Leonardo DiCaprio, J. Edgar
Brad Pitt, Moneyball
Ryan Gosling, The Ides of March
Michael Fassbender, Shame

My Favorite: Okay, this is also the category that leaves me torn because you know my love and devotion to both George Clooney and Ryan Gosling. I can’t choose between them. I want to be wedged between them. And add some Michael Fassbender in that sexy man-sandwich while I’m at it. No, seriously though, I heard Clooney was all shades of amazing in The Descendants, I thought Ryan Gosling was great in The Ides of March and practically every critic I know raved about Fassbender’s raw and naked (both figuratively and literally) performance in Shame. So really. How can a girl choose? I’ll be happy if it goes to either one of them. Sorry Pitt and Leo!

Winner: My perennial fantasy boyfriend George Clooney for The Descendants, of course!

Best Director:

Alexander Payne, The Descendants
Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
George Clooney, Ides of March
Martin Scorsese, Hugo
Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris

My Favorite: I’ve been a huge fan of Woody Allen movies since I first saw Annie Hall a million years ago so despite the incredible lineup, he’s my favorite to win. And that is all.

Winner: Martin Scorsese, Hugo

Best Supporting Actress:

Octavia Spencer, The Help
Bérénice Bejo, The Artist
Shailene Woodley, The Descendants
Jessica Chastain, The Help
Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs

My Favorite: I really need to see The Descendants one of these days because that girl from that awfulsome ABC Family show Secret Life Of An American Teenager, Shailene Woodley, actually got nominated here and from what I read in various blogs and publications, it was well-deserved. It really makes me curious because she wasn’t at all impressive in American Teenager, but I guess it’s because the materials she had to work with weren’t all that great to begin with. Anyway! The only movie I’ve seen in this category is The Help so I guess Octavia Spencer is my favorite. Chastain was great too, but Spencer is pretty amazing!

Winner: Octavia Spencer, The Help

Best Supporting Actor:

Christopher Plummer, Beginners
Kenneth Branagh, My Week With Marilyn
Albert Brooks, Drive
Jonah Hill, Moneyball
Viggo Mortensen, A Dangerous Method

My Favorite: Duh, Albert Brooks, simply because Drive is my favorite movie of 2011. And he was pretty awesome in it!

WINNER: Christopher Plummer, Beginners

TELEVISION

TV Series, Drama:

American Horror Story
Boardwalk Empire
Boss
Game of Thrones
Homeland

My Favorite: No doubt, Homeland. I love American Horror Story like Tate Langdon loves his gimp suit, but Homeland has all the makings of an award-winning show. It is so well-written and brilliantly acted, it’s the best new show this year.

Winner: Homeland

TV Series, Comedy:

Enlightened
Episodes
Glee
Modern Family
New Girl

My Favorite: Despite not loving the fact that Glee is nominated again even though they so don’t deserve it this year, I have to praise the HFPA for nominating the brilliant but highly underrated Laura Dern comedy Enlightened. It’s about time that little show gets some love! And so, even though it may probably lose to Modern Family, or even worse, Glee, it’s still my favorite to win.

Winner: Modern Family

TV Actress, Comedy:

Laura Dern, Enlightened
Zooey Deschanel, New Girl
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Laura Linney, The Big C
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation

My Favorite: I’m like so in love with Amy Poehler right now and ecstatic that even though Parks and Recreation got snubbed again, she got the nomination she so rightly deserved. So yeah, Poehler FTW! However, considering the mass (but polarizing, I admit) appeal of Zooey Deschanel, she may actually take home the Globe this year!

WINNER: Laura Dern, Enlightened

TV Actress, Drama:

Claire Danes, Homeland
Mireille Enos, The Killing
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Madeleine Stowe, Revenge
Callie Thorne, Necessary Roughness

My Favorite: Claire Danes, of course! She’s just phenomenal as Bipolar but brilliant CIA analyst Carrie Mathison and she deserves all the accolades she can get her hands on!

Winner: Claire Danes, Homeland

TV Actor, Drama:

Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Kelsey Grammar, Boss
Jeremy Irons, The Borgias
Damian Lewis, Homeland

My Favorite: Oooh I want to say Bryan Cranston so bad because he is amazing in Breaking Bad and the show was so unjustly snubbed, I feel like he needs to win to make it alright. However, at the end of the day my heart is with Damian Lewis, whose portrayal of Sgt. Nicholas Brody, returning POW turned terrorist, gave a whole new meaning to the word brilliant. But if either of them wins, I’m a happy camper.

Winner: Kelsey Grammar, Boss

TV Actor, Comedy

Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
David Duchovny, Californication
Johnny Galecki, The Big Bang Theory
Thomas Jane, Hung
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes

My Favorite: Matt LeBlanc. He was really funny in Episodes, his character is like Joey Tribbiani playing Matt LeBlanc. And I always love actors who are game at making fun of themselves, so I say give him the award!

Winner: Matt LeBlanc, Episodes

Best Supporting Actor, TV

Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Paul Giamatti, Too Big to Fail
Guy Pearce, Mildred Pierce
Tim Robbins, Cinema Verite
Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family

My Favorite: Eric Stonestreet. It’s not like I watch the others in the list. Though seeing that Guy Pierce won the Emmys last September for Mildred Pierce, he may actually win this one.

Winner: Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones

Best Supporting Actress, TV

Jessica Lange, American Horror Story
Kelly Macdonald, Boardwalk Empire
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family
Evan Rachel Wood, Mildred Pierce

My Favorite: Jessica Lange, no question about it. Especially after last Wednesday night’s episode. Who knew that a Ryan Murphy horror show would actually boast some of the most incredible acting that I’ve ever seen on television? It’s not just Lange who is excellent, even the relative newcomers like Evan Peters and Taissa Farmiga (who’s only ever acted in one movie prior to this show) are incredible. And that goes for the slew of guest stars too such as the incomparable Zachary Quinto, Frances Conroy, Kate Mara and Lily Rabe. Mark my words, American Horror Story will be the one to watch at next year’s Emmys!

Winner: Jessica Lange, American Horror Story

And there you have it, this year’s Golden Globes nominees. Who do you think will bring home the top honors? Whose nominations are you most excited about? Whose snubs are you most bummed about? I’ll be updating this list next month after the Awards Show telecast so check back in then!

Xoxo

Binky Bee